I had a water leak in my hobby room. My layout was fine but the 20 year old particle board computer / entertainment center I was using as a hobby desk took a direct hit. Not only did several of the boards swell but one corner is moldy and the whole thing just needs to go. The upside is that after re-doing the wallboard and a little re-painting I will have the opportunity to build out a "proper" hobby desk. I have some ideas but really, what is "proper"? So I was wondering if anyone would be willing share photos of their work space or share what are some key things for being effective.
The following user(s) said Thank You: southernnscale
Honestly, I believe that the old school computer desks with a hutch on top are pretty much the perfect workbenches for model railroading. You can find them cheap at garage sales and second hand stores and if something happens to them then you just go get another one. I'm on my second one (the first met a fate similar to yours) and paid $40 for each one, but I've seen some for as little as $10 at garage sales. The latest one I have is a little better quality than the first...sturdier design and slightly upgraded hardware used.
First thing I do is buy as big of a cutting mat that will fit and I glue it straight to the desk top. Then I attach lighting or tool holders directly to the hutch and semi-permanently attach a power strip in a strategic spot.
I think if I did anything different I would have some type of "tray system" for projects where I could store, say, a dozen trays and just pull out the one I want to work on. I'm thinking something like the cafeteria tray slot-type stacker holders but on a smaller scale. I tend to work on multiple things at once and this way I wouldn't have stuff piled on top of each other.
I would also find a good 27-37" Smart TV to use both to watch TV while you're working and also as a tool to put photos to work off of. (in lieu of s Smart TV just use a connected computer--or an older laptop--but that just adds more wiring and clutter IMHO. A Google Chromecast type device is another option if you have a compatible smartphone.) May not be budget friendly in certain cases, mine included, but ideally that is what I would do. I actually had an older PC connected to a 22" flat screen monitor for that purpose and wished I had a TV tuner at times. Of course there's always Netflix....bunch of ways to solve that problem but anyway. I would probably build a plexiglass cover to protect it from flying paint/glue/solder/dremel-shrapnel.